Diocese of Scranton releases names of more priests accused of abuse

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Thursday, the Diocese of Scranton announced eight more people added to the list of individuals who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Of the eight, only Monsignor Joseph P. Kelly is still living. The announcement comes as a shock to the community.

Monsignor Joseph P. Kelly was well known in the local community, especially for serving the homeless at St. Francis of Asissi. Any complaint of abuse in the program must also have been reported to the appropriate district attorney’s office.

The Diocese of Scranton released its latest report from the Independent Survivors Compensation Program. The report names Monsignor Joseph P. Kelly as one of eight credibly accused abusers within the diocese.

“I’m shocked. I can’t believe it. There’s no way he can do that,” Karen Cook of Scranton said.

He is well known for his work with the homeless as catholic social services director and director of St. Francis of Asissi kitchen in Scranton. That’s where he helped people like Cook.

“He did great justice. I mean he actually helped a lot of people out. I don’t know,” Cook said.

The other seven are deceased. The diocese introduced the program in 2019 to help survivors of abuse. It has since paid more than $24 million to 213 victims of abuse at the hands of Diocese of Scranton priests, members of religious communities and lay employees.

Bishop Joseph C. Bambera gave a statement on the new report saying: “While no amount of money can take away a survivor`s pain and suffering, my hope has always been that it will aid in their healing and recovery. No child should ever face abuse. For those who have endured pain, I once again say I am sorry. As Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, I take my obligation to support survivors of abuse very seriously.”

Kelly was ordained in 1966. He held administrative positions at several catholic schools in the area between 1975 and 2005. He took a sabbatical in 1999.

According to the Diocese of Scranton, after receiving multiple allegations of sexual abuse they placed Monsignor Kelly on administrative leave.

“We will continue to be unwavering in our zero tolerance policy for anyone who engages in misconduct with minors,” Bambera said.

After his retirement, Kelly continued volunteering at St. Francis of Asissi kitchen. According to the Diocese of Scranton, allegations against the people on the list have been admitted by the accused, established or determined to be credible.

The names of those within the diocese who have been added to the list of credible accused abusers include: Edmund F. Byrne, Joseph T. Conboy, Francis P. Corcoran, Walter L. Ferrett, Joseph P. Kelly, Hugh Harold McGroarty, Julius (C.P.) Reiner and Mark Major.

The program is voluntary, and for those who submit a complaint of sexual abuse to the diocese. For information on how to submit a complaint, visit the diocese’s Independent Survivors Compensation website.

Monsignor Kelly has publicly denied these claims. Eyewitness News is reaching out to him for further comment.

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